Referenced Messianic Jewish Review Blog

The official blog of the Referenced Messianic Jewish Review. The Referenced Messianic Jewish Review studies the history, composition and theology of the Messianic Jewish movement.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dying For Your Sins

The Messianic movement claims that the Bible supports the idea that one person can die for another person's sins. But is this true? Rabbi Stuart Federow explains why the Messianic movement's claim is false:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In Common

A brief post-Shabbat thought.....Do you know what David Brickner has in common with David and Joel Chernoff?

1. Brickner and the Chernoffs do not have a Jewish mother, making them non-Jewish
2. Brickner and the Chenoffs have a father who left Judaism prior to their sons' birth, and who became missionaries to the Jewish people
3. Brickner and the Chernoffs were never raised in true Judaism
4. Brickner and the Chernoffs are top leaders in the Messianic movment

David Brickner is the President of Jews for Jesus. David and Joel Chernoff are both on the board of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA). Joel is also on the board of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance. They present themselves as Jewish (David Chernoff calls himself a "rabbi"), though clearly none of them are Jews.

On a side note, the History section of the MJAA website is missing some important information. It was the Chernoffs' father, Martin Chernoff, who helped convince the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America to change its name to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. Martin Chernoff also founded one of the earlier Messianic congregations, Beth Messiah of Cincinnati....funded by a Baptist ministry.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adopt a Messianic Family?

At this point in time, it seems that countless Christian organizations sponsor Messianic congregations, ministries and organizations. This can only be expected, as the Messianic movement does not originate out of Judaism but out of Christianity, having been created by the Church of England in the 1800's. Since its inception, the Messianic movement has spread and been particularly fostered by U.S.-based evangelical Christian organizations.

I recently ran into one of the stranger sponsorships I have seen in a while. Daystar Ministry International, Inc. has started an Adopt a Messianic Family program, in which they solicit money for Israeli Messianic families. Daystar was created by Nancy Morgan, a Christian minister who was ordained by the Jacksonville Theological Seminary. Pastor Morgan endeavors to spread Christianity and has evangelized in several countries. So why would she be so interested in adopting Messianic families? Only because Messianic "Judaism" is a branch of Christianity and she is interested in spreading Christianity in Israel.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Genesis 1:1

One of the things that I found a bit strange is how many groups, particularly Messianic groups, get confused by the first verse of the Bible. Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning, G-d created the heavens and the earth." For some reason, Messianic groups get caught on the Hebrew words "Elohim" (G-d) and "barah" (created) and come to the false conclusion that this is proof of the Trinity, a triune god. This false conclusion shows a lack of understanding of Biblical Hebrew.

One of my favorite explanations on this is by Rabbi Dr. J.H. Hertz. Rabbi Hertz was the Chief Rabbi of England who wrote one of the most widely used (if not the most widely used) English translation and commentary of the Torah in the Jewish world. The translation and commentary is often referred to as "the Soncino" since it was published by a company called Soncino.

Here is Rabbi Hertz' commentary on this verse, which elucidates how it cannot possibly be referring to the Trinity:

"God. Heb. Elohim. The existence of the Deity is throughout Scripture assumed: it is not a matter for argument or doubt. Elohim is the general designation for the Divine Being in the Bible, as the fountain and source for all things. Elohim is a plural form, which is often used in Hebrew to denote plentitude of might. Here it indicates that God comprehends and unifies all the forces of eternity and and infinity.

created. The Heb. word is in the singular, thus precluding any idea that its subject, Elohim, is to be understood in a plural sense..."

As Rabbi Hertz explained, it is not possible to read the Trinity into Genesis 1:1 based on the actual Hebrew meaning of the words.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fearing Jesus' Wrath

I find it interesting when people in the Messianic movement, or in other branches of Christianity, say that I need to believe in Jesus or else I will be trouble. They tell me that I will be judged badly if I do not accept Jesus and imply (or state directly) that I will spend eternity in hell. But really, do I need to be afraid that if I do not accept Jesus, Jesus will somehow punish me? What does the Bible say? Let's check the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 118:6-8

6: The L-rd is for me, I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7: The L-rd is for me as my help, and I shall look on those that hate me
8: It is better to take refuge in the L-rd than to trust in man

We learn a few things from these verses. First, we need to trust in G-d and not in man. Second, since we need to trust in G-d and not man, no man can claim to be G-d. Third, we do not need to fear the wrath of any man, which by definition includes Jesus. After all, G-d is All Powerful so "what can man do to me?"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Second Coming

As someone who is in the countermissionary field, I often get e-mails from readers of my website or blog stating that Jesus fulfilled all of Messianic prophecy. But the beliefs of Messianic "Judaism"-Christianity prove that this is not true. The belief of the Second Coming specifically proves that this is not true.
After all, why does Jesus need a "second coming?" The answer is that he needs a second coming because he did not fulfill all of Messianic prophecy in his "first coming." Had he fulfilled all of Messianic prophecy when he lived 2000 years ago, a second coming would be unnecessary. After all, we would already be in the Messianic age! Yet, we can look around us and see that the world is clearly far from the perfection that the Bible promises us will happen at the time of the Messiah.
Jesus simply was not the Messiah. The belief in a "Second Coming" proves that Judaism was correct for rejected Jesus as the Messiah, just as Judaism has rejected every Messianic "contender" that has come to us. None have fulfilled all of Messianic prophecy in their lifetimes. All of them need a "second coming!"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

G-d became man ???

A great (and brief) video discussion by Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal on G-d and whether G-d ever became a man.